Provoking the incumbents to retaliate

When we've developed a great idea, project or venture, we need some people to use it, buy it and tell their friends about it. If our idea is nothing like anything they've seen before, we don't have to tear them away from what they're currently using. However, it will take a lot of explaining, demonstrations and selling to get the concept conveyed as useful, valuable and easy to adopt. 

It may seem easier to stick to ideas the customers already know what it is, how to use it and where to apply it. That usually puts us very near a pitfall of provoking the incumbents to retaliate. Our idea competes directly with giants in the market space. We've invaded their turf and threatened to steal some of their customers. Our success could easily decrease their revenue, market share and profitability. We look an enemy on their radar that they will want to shoot out of the water before we make any further progress. 

There are several strategies to steer clear of this perilous pitfall:
  • Invent new ideas to serve the non-consumers who can say your offer is "better than nothing" which what they're getting so far.
  • Come up with something simpler or easier to use for those consumers who feel over-served by too many features, too much sophistication and increasingly complex functionality in the incumbents' product/service mix.
  • Move down market to offer new solutions to the customers current problems which are less expensive to purchase, less costly to maintain or cheaper to operate. 
  • Remix the strategy canvas so your idea is playing by different rules and changing the quality standards which you can meet as "good enough for starters". 

Each of these approaches let "sleeping dogs lie still". The incumbents will not get upset or aroused by innovations that pose no immediate threat. Considerable momentum and customer loyalty can get built up initially while remaining off their radar. 

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